Like most everyone who has seen the movie Idiocracy, I simultaneously laughed out loud while thinking, “No way is that ever going to happen.” We’ll folks, as I type this article, I am eating an enormous piece of humble pie. It is clearly becoming a Kardashian-laden, Orwellian -style world. Think I am over-exaggerating?
Take a look at the way people speak and write. Abbreviated, full of grammatical errors, and the inability to form intelligent arguments, or sentences, for that matter. This article only scratches the surface of the myriad of problems the United States faces in this educational crisis.
Consider this, after World War II, the United States had the number one high school graduation rate in the world, according to a statistical article written by the OECD in 2012. The OECD studies statistics on anything from education to economical surveys. As of 2012, when the study was carried out, the United States now ranks 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading comprehension compared to a total of 27 industrialized nations.
These statistics are alarming when you consider where the world’s industry is headed: technology. If the United States cannot compete in math and science, the effect on the U.S. economy and our standing as a world power, will diminish at an alarming rate.
Because of the state of our economy, it is necessary that both parents work. Children must learn the value of an education at home, but that is not always possible. The average salary for a public school teacher is around $57,000. The national cost of living average in the United States for a family of five is $58,627. If you are a single parent, the struggle to provide is difficult.
So, what is the answer? There is no clear answer. We do not live in a perfect world. Clearly, teachers should be held in the same high esteem as doctors or engineers, because they are the reason people are able to become doctors or engineers. However, teaching in public schools today is not an enticing career, especially in large urban cities where the gap between the have and have-nots is growing.
With violence in schools today, the desire to educate at this level is diminishing. Obviously, teachers should make more money, and resources should be divided equally among public schools because every child in the U.S. deserves a chance. However, I do not see this happening anytime soon. Overcrowding and lack of qualified teachers makes equality in education difficult to achieve.
We, as Americans, owe it to our children to give them an education worthy of a United States citizen, but we seem to have this “deal with it later” mentality. Sure, kids can use their computers, smart phones, and the like to retrieve information, but when you have sites like Wikipedia (one of the most widely used sites for information) where anyone can log on and add information, correct or not, we are doing a disservice to generations. If Wikipedia is going to be the “go to” site for information, we must make sure the information is correct, or we will effectively change history (and not only for the better).
I do not claim to have the answer, but I have seen what constant texting and abbreviating is doing to the way younger generations write. George Orwell’s novel 1984 is quite possibly a harbinger of what is yet to come. When I think of texting, Orwell’s “newspeak” comes to mind. And while technology is wonderful and useful, it also distracts from important issues of the day. I mean, who wants to hear about Iraq when you can play Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds? This country is relatively young compared to other industrialized countries, but we need to grow up fast so we are not left in the dust holding our smart phones wondering what happened to the world we once knew.